Virtual Environment - Hosts - DataCentre etc

Posted on 2016-11-02
Last Modified: 2016-12-02

Looking some advice on what is recommended to buy in setting up a new Virtual Environment.
I aim to build around 10 VMs on the appliance, none of which should have too much pressure on it.

How many processors should I order, how much ram as well as disk space.
Would 1 appliance be sufficient?
The servers will service around 30 people, mainly AD services and some file services.

Am pretty familiar with VSphere to manage/maintain.
Would appreciate any help on this as soon as possible.

Thanks in advance.
Question by:Darrin Crawford
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Expert Comment

by:Bobby Stewart
ID: 41870656
All your questions are highly reliant on your workload. It would be easy to host 10 VMs on one physical server... depending on how you build it.

RAM: How much RAM will be allocated to the total of the running VMs and how much of that will be active during peak and/or normal workloads. Overprovisioning is viable but only if you know that you'll never really use it. You should consider the inevitable server sprawl that virtualization makes easy.

Processors: Similar question. You should plan for enough processing capacity to service your peak workload plus some margin above that for expansion.

Disk space: Once again, what is the requirement at present? Plan for it growing from where you start. Also consider the drives you'll use in relation to the demand you'll get from your applications.

There are a lot of variables that only you can know. Look for tools that can help you evaluate them in total and don't forget: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE!

Maybe this will help:
LVL 120
ID: 41870680
How much RAM, CPU and Storage do you require per VM ?

Do you want any resilience, if the main host should go down?

do you have backup software, how will you backup?

do you have a budget, what is it?

will you be purchasing VMware vSphere licenses ?

You will probably want at least two Domain Controllers, 1 CPU and 4GB RAM per Windows 2012 R2 Server.

40GB virtual disks x 2.

Dual Processor servers, will give you more life and long term performance.

Do you have a preferred vendor e.g. HPE or Dell ?

do you have a rack, or prefer towers?

where will the servers be located, air con and power, noise ?

Author Comment

by:Darrin Crawford
ID: 41870730
Thanks for the info guys, appreciate it.
What vendor/model would you recommend.
My budget is around £2000.

regarding backup etc, I have Veeam, have racks etc and don't want resilience.
each vm will have 4-6 gb ram, 150gb space, intel processor 2ghz min

I know there are still ifs and buts but would appreciate a make/model around these conditions.
Licencing etc has been bought already for Microsoft 2012 and also Esxi6 licenced

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Expert Comment

by:Bobby Stewart
ID: 41870750
I will usually choose Dell or HP. A lot of vendors will rebrand SuperMicro. There are some I would not use, but that's a whole different discussion. Some of it depends on your comfort doing a custom build.

The model will depend partly on how you wish to build your storage, i.e. will it be internal or will you use an external storage system using something like iSCSI; boot to disk, flash or SAN; redundant power supplies or not. Also, different platforms will support different memory and processor configurations that you should derive from a calculation using something like the tool I linked to earlier.

You're in the UK (I assume). The available manufacturers may, or may not, be different. I'm afraid I can't be much help there. It sounds like you might could use a relationship with a trusted vendor in your area that can help you evaluate your specific parameters and provide support in the future.
LVL 120

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 41870847
I would recommend a Dell R620, with SD cards, and install ESXi on an SD card.

leave all the disks and storage for your datastores.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Philip Elder
ID: 41874651
To save on the cost of VMware one could use Hyper-V exclusively. One Datacenter license would probably be a lot more cost effective than five Standard licenses. Note that they would need to be purchased anyway.

Depending on workload:
1: Option 1 gives lots of headroom, ~2500 to 4500 IOPS depending on storage stack configuration:
1U E3-1270v5, 64GB ECC, 1GB RAID with flash cache, 8x 1.2TB 10K SAS in RAID 6, Intel i350-T4 Daughter + i350-T4 PCIe, RMM for KVM over IP (iDRAC Enterprise, Intel RMM, iLO Advanced).

2: Option 2 gives more headroom, compute, and a similar disk layout for IOPS:
1U Dual E5-2630v4, 128GB ECC (8x 16GB ECC), 1GB RAID with flash cache, 8x 1.2TB 10K SAS in RAID 6, Intel i350-T4 Daughter + i350-T4 PCIe, RMM for KVM over IP (iDRAC Enterprise, Intel RMM, iLO Advanced).

3: Option 3 gives us more IOPS:
2U Dual E5-2630v4, 128GB ECC (8x 16GB ECC), 1GB RAID with flash cache, 16x 600GB 10K SAS in RAID 6, Intel i350-T4 Daughter + i350-T4 PCIe, RMM for KVM over IP (iDRAC Enterprise, Intel RMM, iLO Advanced).

Author Comment

by:Darrin Crawford
ID: 41875926
Thanks for your help on this guys

Author Comment

by:Darrin Crawford
ID: 41876930
Looking to go with this option.  Have racks etc.
Also have all licences, appreciate if any of you have used something similar.

One will be used for testing and other for production.
Production wise will build around 12 Servers.
Testing will be around 20 Servers
LVL 120
ID: 41877006
Yes, we also use HPE, often more expensive than DELL.

Make sure you use the OEM ESXi version for HPE servers, and install the ESXi OS, on US flash drive or SD cards, and leave all the spinny disks for datastore.

Configure as RAID 10 or RAID 6 as appropriate.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Philip Elder
ID: 41877517
There are four memory channels. It is best to fill DIMMs in groups of eight for best performance.

Author Comment

by:Darrin Crawford
ID: 41887773
Just verify guys, before I order.  I have racks/licences etc...

E5-2620v4 1P 16G Svr/TV
Manu. Part#::843374-425

12 x  HP 300GB 12G SAS 10K 2.5IN SCENT HDD
Manu. Part#::785067-B21

2 x  HPE 32GB (1 x 32GB) Dual Rank x4
DDR4-2400 CAS-17-17-17 Registered
Memory Kit
Manu. Part#::805351-B21
LVL 120
ID: 41887785
Does this include a Battery Backup Write Cache controller and SD card for ESXI installation ?

Author Comment

by:Darrin Crawford
ID: 41887859
No Andrew, can you explain the use of a Battery Backup Write Cache controller.
Also can I not install of USB with an iso?
LVL 120
ID: 41887913
You can install ESXi on a USB flash drive or SD card (SD card is faster).

BBWC is used to accelerate Storage Controllers, and may not be included with your purchase, you need to check the specifications.
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 41890835
BBWC - One way of speeding up an application is to speed up the time it takes to write to disk, one way of doing that is to use a write-cache, so that once the data is written into the cache the I/O can complete and the application carry on. The cache is then flushed out to disk asynchronously.

The problem occurs that if a power failure occurs before the cache is flushed, what is on disk may not be consistent (say a file is created, but its directory entry never got written), hence the need for a Battery to keep the cache valid until the power comes back on and the cache flush can be completed.
LVL 120
ID: 41909173
do you require any additional help, to help close this question?

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